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US Friends            
of Fraenkelufer


Past Events

From Meshulash to LABA

Jewish Art in Berlin since

the fall of the Wall

March 27th 2022

Berlin is world renowned for its innovative contemporary art scene as well as its monumental Jewish history. The period after the fall of the Berlin Wall proved to be a pivotal moment in the continued reemergence of a Jewish art scene exemplified by the artists collective Meshulash and the journal GOLEM. Join us on March 27th for an exciting roundtable discussion, meeting some of the women that were creating, working, and living during this unique historical moment. The questions (and anxieties) of identity and belonging swirled alongside the raw energy of a new era in the city. Political upheaval and dramatic social change inspired avant-garde art exhibitions and publications that thrived in the recently opened east.

Speakers included:


Chazan Jalda Rebling was born in Amsterdam and grew up in East Berlin. Her mother was a Shoa survivor and internationally renowned Yiddish singer. Jalda is an actress specializing in Jewish music from the early middle ages through modern time. Jalda founded the first Yiddish Festival in Berlin Tage der Jiddischen Kultur 1987 -1997 and was a cofounder of the Jiddisches Liedtheater in the Hackesche Hof Theater Berlin 1993-2008. She also co-founded the first egalitarian Synagogue in Berlin.


Britta Jürgs was born in Frankfurt/Main and came to (West) Berlin in 1988. She founded AvivA publishing house in 1997 which publishes books from Jewish Women writers of the 1920s and 1930s among others. Britta co-founded Meshulash and was part of the GOLEM editorial board.


Anna Adam is an internationally renowned painter, stage designer, illustrator and object artist. Her satirical exhibition FEINKOST ADAM in the Jewish Museum of Fürth has been the subject of international controversy. Anna joined Meshulash in 1997 and currently works as an artist in the Berlin countryside.


Toby Anne Axelrod is a New York-born journalist for anglo-Jewish publications. She moved to Berlin in 1997 as a Fulbright Journalism Scholar, and currently peregrinates between Berlin and Western Massachusetts. She is writing a book about non-Jewish Germans confronting the history of the Holocaust in their own families or hometowns.


Moderation by:


Melissa Berkowitz lives in Philadelphia where she works in health policy and health equity at the University of Pennsylvania. She sits on the board of the US Friends of Fraenkelufer Synagogue and is currently a dual master student studying Law and Nonprofit Leadership.


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Our Mission:

Our mission is the support of Kreuzberg’s historic Fraenkelufer Synagogue as it strives to enhance the vibrancy of Jewish religion and culture in the diverse setting of today’s Berlin.  In addition to providing a means for supporters in the United States to make tax-deductible contributions that help sustain the Synagogue and its programming and will enable it to move forward with plans to renovate and expand the facility, we are committed to educating interested individuals about the rich history of Jewish life in Berlin, as well as Jewish life there today and in the future.  

Who we are: 

We are an all-volunteer organization, consisting of a small Board of Directors, four of whom reside in the United States and two of whom are in Berlin.  We bring to the organization a mix of backgrounds, interests and talents but we share the goal of seeing the Fraenkelufer Synagogue play a vital role in Berlin’s Jewish life.

What we do: 

While we are committed providing financial support to our German affiliate, the Friends of Fraenkelufer, we also see our role as something much broader – raising awareness of Fraenkelufer and through it, the varied aspects of Jewish life in Berlin.


We’d love to hear from you

  • If you’re planning to visit Berlin and would like to learn more about the Fraenkelufer Synagogue and its community

  • If you’re interested in the religious and cultural programming offered by the Synagogue and other Jewish organizations in Berlin, much of it available on-line

  • If you have and questions or suggestions about our activities

  • And, of course, if you’re interested in supporting our efforts.

Please feel free to contact us at

Your Contributions:

The US Friends of Fraenkelufer Synagogue and Community Center is recognized as a not-for-profit (501(c)(3)) organization by the US Internal Revenue Service. We welcome contributions from citizens and lawful residents of the United States and all contributions received are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

If you wish to make a contribution, you may do so by using this PayPal link

or by sending a check to the following address:

US Friends of Fraenkelufer
6101 Penn Ave.
Suite 201
Pittsburgh PA 15206

Rebirth of a Synagogue: Marking 75 Years of
New Life in Berlin
September 8th 2020

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Over 75 years ago, on Rosh Hashanah 1945, the Fraenkelufer Synagogue in Kreuzberg was the first in Berlin to reopen its doors for formal services after the Nazi period. 


The war in Europe had only been over since May. Survivors were emerging from their hiding places and the camps, and with them Jewish life was slowly returning to the ruined city. Through the heroic efforts of recently arrived Jewish American GIs, led by Captain Harry Nowalsky, the Synagogue managed an improvised renovation and, incredibly, reopened in time for the Jewish High Holidays. The event was captured for Life magazine by Robert Capa, one of the leading war photographers of the 20th century. 


Please join the U.S. Friends of Fraenkelufer on Tuesday, September 8th, from 5:00-6:00pm Eastern Time for a very special program exploring and commemorating this event. 


Nina Peretz, president of the Friends of Fraenkelufer Synagogue association in Berlin with Henry Taucher in front of the famous picture taken of him and his brother Fred by Robert Capa at the Rosh Hashanah services 1945

Who presented?

  • Atina Grossman, historian and professor at The Cooper Union, and author of Jews, Germans, and Allies: Close Encounters in Occupied Germany. Professor Grossman will provide an overview of Berlin in the immediate aftermath of Germany’s surrender and the efforts of Jewish survivors and U.S. military personnel to rekindle Jewish life in Berlin. 

  • Jessica Greenberg, Associate Attorney at Nowalsky & Gothard Law Firm, and granddaughter of Captain Harry Nowalsky. Jessica will share some of her grandfather’s unique World War II story, one that she has spent the past seven years researching and documenting.

  • Henry Taucher, a native Berliner who survived the war in hiding as a young child together with his brother, Fred. Both participated in the 1945 services and were photographed at the event by Robert Capa. In a video message Hank will share some of his memories and personal perspective.



The Zoom event was live-streamed and saved on our Facebook page.  


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